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Two potentially costly and controversial decisions about the University of California San Diego's future may be decided by UC Regents next week, according to an agenda posted online this morning by U.C.’s Office of the President.

First up on the regents' compensation committee agenda for September 13 is the matter of the "Appointment of and Compensation for Acting Vice Chancellor for Marine Sciences, Director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Dean of the Graduate School of Marine Sciences, San Diego Campus."

As we reported a year ago this month, a similar item appeared on the committee’s agenda, only to be pulled at the last minute following our repeated inquiries.

Speculation then had it that Tony Haymet, the current Scripps director, might be leaving his job, but university officials remained mum and Haymet held onto his spot.

Haymet was paid $295,000 last year, according to a state website.

Controversial in some quarters, Haymet has made a name for himself as a party-going friend of V.I.P.s and royalty, including ex-U.S. vice-president Al Gore and Monaco's Prince Albert, both of whom have appeared at institute fundraisers here.

The university has remained quiet about next week's action, to be deliberated on in secret session, but UCSD campus speculation now centers on at least a temporary departure by Haymet in the form of a sabbatical and a decision on a salary for his stand-in.

After the Haymet item comes a second round of potential San Diego controversy in the form of the "Establishment of a New Senior Management Group Position, Appointment of and Compensation for Vice Chancellor – Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, San Diego Campus."

When first announced last year, the diversity job drew savage attacks from critics, including the conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research's Heather Mac Donald, who argued that the new position was expensive and unnecessary.

"Even as U.C. campuses jettison entire degree programs and lose faculty to competing universities, one fiefdom has remained virtually sacrosanct: the diversity machine.

"Not only have diversity sinecures been protected from budget cuts, their numbers are actually growing."

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Visduh Sept. 5, 2012 @ 2:37 p.m.

To call those slots "sinecures" is a bit over the top. Those people actually do some work for their salaries. But it is work that takes little effort and produces little of any value. What they do should be part of the job of the person in charge, whether it be president, chancellor, dean or director.


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